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Texas forces win at San Jacinto
April 21, 1836

On this day in 1836, Texas forces won the battle of San Jacinto, the concluding military event of the Texas Revolution. Facing General Santa Anna's Mexican army of some 1,200 men encamped in what is now southeastern Harris County, General Sam Houston disposed his forces in battle order about 3:30 p.m., during siesta time. The Texans' movements were screened by trees and the rising ground, and evidently Santa Anna had no lookouts posted. The Texan line sprang forward on the run with the cries "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" The battle lasted but eighteen minutes. According to Houston's official report, the casualties were 630 Mexicans killed and 730 taken prisoner. Against this, only nine of the 910 Texans were killed or mortally wounded and thirty were wounded less seriously.

Legendary lawman joins the Texas Rangers
April 21, 1906

On this day in 1906, Frank Hamer enlisted in the Texas Rangers. Hamer, born in Fairview in 1884, was recommended for a position with the Rangers after capturing a horse thief while working as a cowboy in 1905. In 1908 he resigned from the force to become marshal of Navasota and then a special officer in Harris County. He rejoined the Rangers in 1915 and patrolled the South Texas border from the Big Bend to Brownsville. He was criticized for his use of force, and legislator José T. Canales accused Hamer of threatening him in 1918. In 1934 Hamer became a special investigator for the Texas prison system and was assigned to track down outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. After a three-month search, he and his men shot and killed them near Gibsland, Louisiana. Congress awarded Hamer a special citation for stopping the pair. Hamer retired in 1949 and lived in Austin until his death in 1955.

First internees arrive at Kenedy Alien Detention Camp
April 21, 1942

On this day in 1942, the first group of internees--456 Germans, 156 Japanese, and 14 Italians--arrived at the Kenedy Alien Detention Camp on the outskirts of Kenedy, Texas. The United States Border Patrol had entered into an agreement to lease a former Civilian Conservation Corps camp for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The lease was made for the purpose of establishing an internment camp for aliens from the United States and Latin America who were considered dangerous to the public safety. At the outset of World War II, when conditions were bleak for the Allies, the U.S. undertook to protect its national interests by entering into agreement with Latin-American countries to arrest and intern all resident aliens or citizens of German, Japanese, or Italian descent who could possibly aid the Axis war effort. From the time the Kenedy Camp received its first internees until it was converted into a prisoner of war camp on October 1, 1944, more than 3,500 aliens passed through its gates.